Zero Food Waste

A report published by the Value Chain Management Centre in December 2014 indicates the value of Canada’s food waste in 2014 was $31 billion. Occurring at every place along the food value chain – from farm to table – the costs associated with this waste are absorbed by everyone including consumers, retailers, and farmers. This waste also comes at a significant environmental toll as finite resources are wasted in the production and disposal of food.

In addressing this concern, food retailers across the globe are adopting strategies to mitigate the amount of food that leaves their doors as “waste”. From marketing “imperfect” fruits and vegetable at discounted rates to the donation of food to community food programs, this trend watches consumers and retailers place value on unsold foods that, in recent history, have had little to no perceived social or economic value.

Governments are beginning to respond by developing laws friendly to the Zero Food Waste concept, such as supporting the diversion of recovered food to community food programs. Major supermarkets in France currently donate unsold edible food to non-profits and expired food to farms for animal feed or compost. In 2015, Vancouver and Victoria passed by-laws to redirect food scraps from residential and commercial garbage, because they discovered food scraps made up 40% of materials brought to landfills.

Harvest House Food Bank and Cowichan Neighbourhood House are working together to do our part to reduce food waste in the Cowichan region. We have the volunteers and resources ready, and through a little ingenuity, we can process waste food into value added goods such as soups, jams and preserves.